Dunkery and Horner Wood circular walk
Holnicote Estate, SomersetRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
This scenic walk skirts the lower slopes of Dunkery Hill and descends into the East Water Valley. There are opportunities to see many different plants and animals, including red deer.
- Bus stop
Start: Webbers Post car park, grid ref: SS903439
Leave the Webbers Post car park by the path in the far left-hand corner (left as you look at the information panel). This leads through the gorse and across the road. Once over the road, you climb steadily for about a quarter of a mile until the path levels off. Ignore paths to left and right.
A nature trail from Webbers Post car park takes you through the woods; wooden sculptures are placed amongst the trees. During wet weather, mini waterfalls develop in Hollow Combe.
Continue along the side of Dunkery Hill until the path slopes down towards a small combe. Descend into Hollow Combe. During wet weather, a stream crosses the path just inside the combe.
Dunkery Beacon is the highest point on Exmoor; this route doesn't take you all the way to the Beacon, but you do come within walking distance (on reaching the point where four paths meet, after leaving Hollow Combe, turn left and head up hill to reach the Beacon). In the valley bottom, footbridges carry the path back and forth across the east water river.
Emerge from the combe and follow the path as it climbs gently upwards. On reaching a point where four paths meet, turn right and head downhill towards the woodland edge.
Continue along the side of Dunkery Hill; across the valley you can see an area of loose slate, next to this there's a large oak tree. This is the Old General, thought to be one of the oldest trees on Exmoor. The stone seat near Webbers Post car park describes the agreement made between the Acland family and the National Trust.
Ignore paths that join from the right and left and continue down into the valley. As you enter the tree line, the path will become very steep and rocky as it approaches the valley bottom.
The lower slopes of Dunkery Hill support lowland heath a mix of Western gorse, bristle bent grass and bell heather. On the higher slopes around Dunkery Beacon there's upland heather moorland, where heather and bilberry (or whortleberry) dominate.
At the bottom of the valley you'll meet the river. Cross the footbridge onto the road and turn right.
A nature trail from Webbers Post car park takes you through the woods; look for the wooden sculptures placed amongst the trees.
Continue along the road for about a quarter of a mile, then bear left onto a path (just before the river crosses the road). Shortly after turning onto this track, a path bears off to the left. Ignore this and carry on along the valley bottom.
After about three quarters of a mile of weaving to and fro across the river (via the footbridges), you reach a junction where a bridleway descends from your left. Ignore this and cross over the river once more.
Shortly after crossing the river, turn right and follow the Priestway (a bridleway) up and out of the valley.
This path is steep and rocky but eventually reaches a broad, flat track at the top of the hill (Horner Hill). When you reach this point, turn right and walk the short distance back to the car park.
End: Webbers Post car park, grid ref: SS903439
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 3 miles (4.8km)
- Time: 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer OL9
A circular walk with no waymarkers and little signage, passing through the steep-sided river valley, which is very steep on both the descent and ascent. Paths are steep and stony in places and muddy after wet weather, so stout footwear is essential. No bins provided, please take your waste home.
- How to get here:
- By foot: Access from Horner via the Windsor Walk
- By car: From A39, Minehead to Porlock, turn left towards Luccombe and follow signs to Luccombe. At Luccombe, follow signs for Cloutsham and Dunkery Beacon, then Dunkery Beacon. At the crossroads, turn left and continue up the hill. Pass the first (smaller) car park and bear right at the fork. Webbers Post car park is ahead on the right
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